SERVICES | Business funding and support



Special Offer: 50% Discount on Loan Installment




The BUSINESS FUNDING unit manages ECDC’s business finance product offering and assists small to large enterprises gain access to finance.

Through both short-term and long-term product offers, ECDC has set itself apart as the financial service provider of choice for initiatives that bring a meaningful development impact to the Eastern Cape economy.

ECDC, through its BUSINESS FUNDING unit, facilitates financial viability and sustainability of these initiatives through the provision of financial resources at highly competitive rates.

With an understanding of the historical lack of access of small to medium enterprises to finance, ECDC uses adequate management capacity and business viability as key lending criteria.




ECDC Access, the category name for short-term finance, offers products geared towards facilitating efficient cash flow management of clients’ businesses.  “Access” denotes the Business Funding unit’s values of flexibility, convenience, efficiency and transparency:

  • NEXUS - Trade loan
  • WORKflow - Contractor loan
  • POWERplus - Small loan



ECDC Future, the category name for long-term finance, offers long-term debt finance vehicles.  These include the TERMcap load and an equity finance vehicle, EQUItrader.

The long-term finance offering represents ECDC’s earnest quest for business sustainability, cutting edge innovation, freshness, and vision in the economy of the Eastern Cape.


Eligibility for finance

ECDC’s business finance products are best suited to finance applications that facilitate job creation and/or retention, economic empowerment, value addition to the economy, rural/township development and increased export income.

Any product that is a new greenfield initiative where expansion and rehabilitation will be the resultant benefit will be eligible for application to ECDC for finance.

Applicants will only be considered for loan finance if they have a clean credit record, or provide ECDC with written proof of arrangements made to clear any bad debt attributable to them and show clear financial viability.

Active involvement in the business enterprise, in the form of full time participation in the activities of the business by all or some of the applicants at any given point in time, is also a requirement.


ECDC’s “aftercare” service philosophy

ECDC’s aftercare philosophy aims to provide efficient client service for the entire duration of the contract term.

Monthly account management and quarterly report-back visits will gauge the health of the business.

In the event that the account manager raises concern about the viability of the business and the applicant’s ability to sustain repayments on the loan, business support is provided to assist as far as possible to turn the operation around favourably.

ECDC’s unique collateral policy

ECDC operates under different collateral policies to South African banks. Should 100% collateral be unavailable, the loan may still be granted and it will be attached as security, and any available collateral (albeit less than 100% of the loan value) will be attached as security to the extent that ECDC deems necessary.

Despite our policy that 100% collateral is not required as a prerequisite for loan finance, it is expected that a contribution, that significantly demonstrates the applicant’s total commitment to the idea, be made.

ECDC offers skills support

ECDC requires that clients display some expertise in the area of the proposed business idea, either on a technical or business level.

However, should the required skill level to drive the proposal forward not be available, ECDC offers the necessary training courses to improve skill levels, or provides access to an appropriate mentor within ECDC operations to glean expertise in the designated disciplines.




Short-term business financing solutions.

What does it do?
Its primary goal is to enhance cash flow to allow for efficient contract delivery, resulting in financial stability.  Effectively this is bridging finance.

How does it achieve this?
Through short-term, purpose-driven debt finance product packages.

What is a NEXUS trade loan?
You’ve been awarded a contract in the private or government sector that stands to take your business to a new level of prominence. Your cash holding may restrict the efficient delivery of your contract’s stated deliverables. You need a cash cushion to assist you in reaching this contract’s objective, so that you can sustain a healthy business …

The NEXUS trade loan serves the short-term finance needs of clients servicing contracts in the public and private sectors - placing them on the road to sustainable success.

Lifespan: 1 to 6 months

Interest: 2.5% per month

Size: R10,000 to R500,000

Fees and charges: Below R50,000 = R275 plus VAT; above R500,000 = R2,600 plus VAT

What is a WORKflow contractor loan?
You have been awarded a construction contract that could make or break your business.  You need to manage cashflow efficiently to deliver on the contract’s requirements.  You have the capacity, but you need a cashflow injection …

WORKflow contractor loans provide emerging contractors with both financial and technical support.  Made up out of two of the most important elements to a sustainable, successful business – work and cash flow, WORKflow is a product geared to the efficient flow of cash for clients servicing construction contracts in the public and private sectors.

Lifespan: 3 to 36 months

Interest: Prime -2% to Prime +5%

Size: R350,000 to R20,000,000

Fees and charges:  Structuring 1% of loan value cash management fee of 2.5% initiation fee in line with the National Credit Act

What is a POWERplus small loan?
You have a business idea – one that can work.  You are cash-strapped, and without money to spark your idea, it will die.  A small, short-term loan will assist you to initiate the beginning of a good thing …

Aimed at SMMEs, this short-term loan empowers them to reach their objectives by adding financial power.  POWERplus describes the value add that this competitively priced small loan offers businesses as they pursue financial entrenchment and sustainability.

Lifespan: 12 to 48 months

Interest: Linked to the prime rate Size: R50,000 to R500,000

Fees and charges: In line with the National Credit Act

What does long-term finance do?
It provides capital to businesses for sustained projects to facilitate the long-term viability of their operations, through funding organic growth.

What is a TERMcap loan?
A vehicle by which capital is channeled to a business to allow for financial viability and sustainability through term-defined debt financing.

‘TERMcap’ describes the product - a term loan that avails capital to the client.

Security: ECDC does not require 100% security cover, although available security is attached

Lifespan: 5-7 years (ECDC discretion on commercial property applications, may run to 12-year term)

Interest rates: Prime -2% to Prime +5%

Fees and charges: Structuring fee of between 1% and 3 % of value of transaction valuation fees where applicable; Bond registration fees where appropriate, at cost

Size: R500,000 to R20,000,000 per applicant (ECDC discretion applies)

What is EQUItrader equity finance?
EQUItrader provides for equity financing mainly for the manufacturing and retail sectors.

ECDC adopts an “equity warehousing’ policy” that aims to move equity off its balance sheet 5-7 years from the date of the transaction by selling its equity stake in a business to the existing shareholders. This process is geared to assist businesses to achieve their developmental objectives.

Equity warehousing is, therefore, the effective facilitation of equity deals (especially BEE buy-ins and buy-outs) through capital investment into businesses.

Lifespan: 5-7 years (ECDC discretion applies)

Fees and charges: Structuring fees of 1–3% of the total transaction value

Size: No specified minimum value; maximum investment of R10 million (ECDC discretion applies).

What should be included in the application?
Finance applications should include how the project facilitates job creation and/or retention, economic empowerment, value addition to the economy, rural/ township development, increased export income or a new greenfield initiative, where expansion and rehabilitation will be the resultant benefit.

What will ECDC not finance?
ECDC will not finance applications that propose the following circumstances:

  • Any development loans which might be offensive to the community directly affected by such development finance;
  • Any development loans which might be offensive to the community at large;
  • Development loans of which the nature thereof requires a period more than the recommended development finance period;
  • Any investment opportunity of which the main income stream is from a sub-contract, that is, not a primary contract;
  • An investment opportunity where there is no direct jobs created or saved as a result of the investment;
  • An investment opportunity which has the substance of being speculative;
  • Any residential property development;
  • Any investment opportunity where the main asset is vehicle finance
  • Any employee of ECDC and/ or any government employed officials whose conduct does not comply and prescribe to chapter 14: Code of Conduct & Business Ethics Policy as adopted by the ECDC
  • Any development loan required to fund the purchase of another development loan from the ECDC (ECDC does not lend money to a buyer to fund the purchase of a sale of its existing Development Loan). A deviation may be applied for should the economic value be present.


The application for finance is approved. What next?
Once the application has been approved, the process will start to determine the terms and conditions of the application. The suitability of the application does not guarantee that it will be successful. The contract will be considered binding once it is signed by ECDC and the applicant concerned.

Are quicker settlement plans encouraged?
As an entity concerned with sustainable development, ECDC welcomes settlement of the loan amount by the client before the end of the contract term.

What if I run into financial difficulty during the contract term?
A maximum six-month moratorium for final drawn down is allowed on all new development investments. A moratorium is only considered if cash flow of the promoter indicates that it is required.

What if my loan account falls into arrears?
If you default on monthly loan account repayments to the effect that the contract is more than three months in arrears, a full investigation as to why this is the case will be set in motion.

The account will be charged a 2% investigation fee, and in compliance with the National Credit Act, the relevant credit bodies will be informed of the default.



Although financial assistance forms a critical component of SMME development, enterprises also require preparation in becoming market-ready.

Hence ECDC’s Business Support unit ensures that when entrepreneurs receive finance, their enterprises are being well managed and are poised for long-term growth.

Offering ongoing support through mentorship, market access opportunities as well as business and financial management, ECDC non-financial support package is based on providing sophisticated solutions and best practice business support services aimed at building competitive enterprises and improving their performance.

Business support therefore offers both strategic and operational services to small businesses directed at equipping them to perform to their full potential.

The envisaged impact is increased profitability and improved management processes that enhance the long-term viability of businesses.

The objectives of the Business Support unit are to promote a culture of entrepreneurship, improve competiveness, facilitate access to market, and provide education, capacity building and training to SMMEs.



The Business Support unit assists businesses to perform to their full potential by providing:

  • A range of non-financial services which are sector-specific and demand-led
  • Business linkages and networks that strengthen the SMME sector.

These include:

  • Advisory support services and business counselling
  • Business plan development
  • Feasibility studies
  • Due diligence
  • Mentorship and coaching
  • Quality management support
  • Marketing support
  • Intellectual property registration support and management
  • Business management training.



The Business Support unit provides development and support to all businesses with a focus on:

  • Creative industries
  • Tourism
  • Manufacturing
  • Information and communication technology (ICT)
  • Agro-processing
  • Renewable energy
  • Services and retail.



Companies qualify for support if their initiatives:

  • Demonstrate economic merit/potential
  • Contribute towards job creation
  • Is innovative
  • Contribute towards empowerment
  • Support rural development
  • Have potential for exporting
  • Involve township development
  • Are legally compliant.



If a business meets these requirements, the next step is applying for this service by following these steps:

  • Complete an application for Business Support and submit at any ECDC office
  • Provide supporting documentation:
    • Certified copies of ID documents and/or marriage certificate (where applicable)
    • Business registration documents
    • Lease agreement, deed of sale, proof of ownership and contractual documents
    • Franchise agreement (if any)
    • Tax clearance certificate
    • Proof of residential address.


This will be followed by a complete diagnosis of the business which aims to identify areas that need attention as well as areas of success that need focus.

The business owner will be required to:

  • Sign an agreement
  • Pay co-contribution
  • Provide required information and participate actively in the process, ensuring ownership of the product.




Business support

Telephone +27(0) 43 704 5680